SHEEP Producers Australia has supported increased regulatory action over the livestock export industry, expressing distress, disappointment and frustration at last night’s 60 Minutes footage.
SPA president Allan Piggott said sheep producers want to know that when their animals leave their properties, the same high standards of care that have been provided during their ownership are continued.
“We have not seen this occur in last night’s footage and it is upsetting,” he said.
“SPA has met with Minister David Littleproud today and we support him in his decision to increase his department’s regulatory action over the livestock export industry and to fast-track research and development into key areas of the industry.
“The R&D is required is to support evidence-based decisions on key welfare solutions, such as stocking rates and vessel design, to ensure that any changes are supported by rigorous science,” Mr Piggott said.
“SPA will be supporting the government in the increase in regulation and working with industry service providers on R&D to achieve best practice animal welfare outcomes.
“Livestock exporters need to once again prove that they are worthy of community trust and so we support the need for full transparency of activity on livestock export vessels and encourage exporters to embrace this,” he said.
“They need to ensure future shipments meet the expectations of the community.
“The standards under which exporters operate – the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock – are presently being reviewed and so a number of issues, such as heat stress, manure build-up, stocking rates and staffing on vessels, will need addressing to reflect community expectations,” Mr Piggott said.
“Producers will be contributing to this review.
“We support the swift implementation of actions highlighted by the Australian Livestock Exporters Council to improve the accountability and transparency of the export industry.”
“Producers need to have confidence that the systems in place to ensure this kind of mistreatment does not happen are effective and are monitored and enforced.
“We need to know that breaches will be investigated and, where failures have been found to occur, penalties are enforced.”